SD Supreme Court grants temporary stay in BPI's defamation suit - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

SD Supreme Court grants temporary stay in BPI's defamation suit against ABC

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PIERRE, S.D. (KTIV) -

The South Dakota Supreme Court has granted a temporary stay in BPI's defamation lawsuit against ABC News.

The chief justice of South Dakota's high court granted ABC's motion while the Supreme Court decides other legal issues raised by ABC's lawyers.

In March, a circuit judge refused ABC's motion to throw out the $1.2-billion lawsuit, which claims the network damaged BPI's business by using the words "pink slime" to describe its signature product, "lean, finely textured beef."

Judge Cheryle Gering dismissed five counts against ABC, but allowed 22 others to go forward to trial. ABC's lawyers say the statute Judge Cheryle Gering used to allow the 22-counts to proceed to trial has never been considered by any court. That statute is meant to balance interests of producers, like BPI, and First Amendment rights of those who want to comment on the quality and safety of the food we eat.

In a 12-page petition, network lawyers claim the statute covers the "disparagement of agricultural food products" related to statements about food safety, and statements made with "knowledge of falsity." ABC's lawyers say the judge made a mistake by ruling that BPI's claims didn't meet the definition of "disparagement", and can be made under South Dakota common law.

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